Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has admitted he does not know how long he will be without star striker Sergio Aguero.
Aguero will miss City’s trip to Tottenham on Saturday after a challenge by Ashley Young in last weekend’s Manchester derby aggravated a problem in his knee.
The Manchester United full-back was not punished for the studs-up tackle, which left Aguero floored late in the second half.
Aguero has not started for the Premier League leaders since a 1-0 win over Chelsea at the beginning of March.
Now Guardiola cannot say for certain when City’s all-time leading scorer will be available again.
“We cannot forget he was two months injured. He made a huge effort because after the action from Ashley Young against United he had a problem with his knee. He could not train,” Guardiola told reporters on Friday.
“He was injured before the (Liverpool) game but made a huge effort to help us for 10 to 15 minutes. That’s why he could not play from the beginning.
“People talked a lot, not knowing exactly what happened before the game. He was not ready.”
Argentina international Aguero came off the bench as City attempted to salvage their Champions League tie with Liverpool on Tuesday.
They were trying to overturn a three-goal first-leg deficit and were level at 1-1 in the return game when the striker was introduced, but lost 2-1.
“He played the last 10 to 15 minutes and after the game said he had a lot of pain and could not run,” Guardiola added.
“After that game I don’t know if he’ll be ready for the Swansea game (on April 22).
“So hopefully he’ll be ready for the last games if we need him and for his World Cup.”
– Injury problems –
Guardiola is facing a selection headache for the Tottenham game, with the Spaniard saying he has 14 available players “plus the kids”.
Benjamin Mendy is still recovering from a long-term cruciate knee ligament injury, John Stones has been ruled out with a thigh problem, and Fernandinho is suspended.
But Guardiola wants to see his team get back to where they were before their dip in form with three successive defeats in the last week.
Despite crashing out of Europe in midweek, City could be crowned champions this weekend if they beat Tottenham and second-placed Manchester United lose at home to West Brom on Sunday.
“We have to try to be who we were during the season and think we need five points,” Guardiola said.
“We are 13 points ahead plus goal difference and we deserve to be there. In the Premier League, we won the last five in a row except United.
“The results were good. It’s just thinking about what Tottenham’s strengths are and trying to win the game.”
After the wobble, which saw City fail to secure the league title against United and get knocked out of the Champions League to Liverpool, Guardiola believes his side can get the job done soon.
“We need to win two games. As soon as we win the first one, the second one will be easier. You have to try to win the first one,” he said.
“One of the successes we’ve had this season is that when we’ve dropped points, the next five is winning, winning, winning. That’s why we are there.
“All the other contenders, after losing a game, have maybe lost another one — and we didn’t do that.
“This week is the first time and it was in different competitions.”